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Your Weekly Reference Question

What city was Winnie the Pooh named after?

How Winnie the Pooh got his name is a very interesting story that starts at the opening of World War I. In 1914, the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade left the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The train had stopped in a remote Northern Ontario community and Lieutenant Harry Coleburn noticed a man sitting at the train station with a bear cub tied to the bench he was sitting on. The man was a hunter who had shot the female bear cub's mother. Harry Coleburn bought the cub from the hunter and took her with the brigade to England.

By the time they reached England, the little bear had been named Winnipeg after Coleburn's adopted city, and was affectionately known by the rest of the brigade as "Winnie".

(Original Winnie the Pooh stuffed toys. Clockwise from bottom left: Tigger, Kanga, Edward Bear (aka Winnie-the-Pooh), Eeyore, and Piglet.)

Winnie became the mascot of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade. However, when the brigade was sent to France in December of 1914, Coleburn decided that it would be too dangerous for the little bear cub, and donated her to the London Zoo. She became a popular attraction there, so much so that when Coleburn returned from the war, he decided to leave her in London, though he would continue to visit her throughout her life.

Author A.A. Milne took his son Christopher Robin to the zoo, and Winnie became a fast favorite of his. He named his own bear Winnie after the bear, and Pooh after a swan at the London Zoo.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 25, 2007 11:49 AM.

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